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NEI's Responsible Investment Program Earns Highest Marks Possible from the Principles for Responsible Investment – Canada NewsWire

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TORONTO, Aug. 4, 2020 /CNW/ – NEI Investments (“NEI”) is proud to announce it has been awarded the top score of “A+” across all assessed categories in the 2020 report by the UN-supported Principles for Responsible Investment (the “PRI”), the world’s leading proponent of responsible investment. While NEI has consistently received strong marks for its responsible investment program, these are the highest grades the company has achieved.

“These outstanding results reflect the deep commitment across our entire organization to ESG best practices and to the broader principles of responsible investing,” said Frederick M. Pinto, Senior Vice President and Head of Asset Management for NEI. “For more than 30 years, we have been leaders in delivering the most comprehensive and effective responsible investment program in Canada, enabling our clients to build toward their financial goals while making a positive impact on the world. The PRI assessment shows we are succeeding.”

The PRI works to understand the investment implications of environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) factors and to support an international network of over 3,000 signatories in integrating these factors into investment and ownership decisions. NEI Investments was among the first signatories when the PRI launched in 2006.”

“The guiding principles that were adopted by the PRI were fully embedded in our work long before we became a signatory,” said David Rutherford, Vice President of ESG Services for NEI. “For us, this goes beyond a single year’s assessment—these results speak to the power of a thoughtful and consistently applied approach that’s built on a strong foundation and refined over time.”

“From strategy and governance to corporate engagement and manager oversight, we’re thrilled the PRI has recognized the high level of asset management expertise we bring to our responsible investment solutions,” said John Bai, Vice President and Chief Investment Officer for NEI. “Our success is the result of deep integration internally and healthy, collaborative relationships with our external sub-advisors.”

View NEI’s full ratings assessment

About NEI Investments

“NEI Investments” and “NEI” refer to Northwest & Ethical Investments L.P., an Ontario limited partnership.

NEI Investments is a Canadian asset manager committed to providing focused investment solutions advised by best-of-breed, independent portfolio managers. NEI delivers disciplined, active asset management with a longstanding focus on environmental, social and governance factors, and a well-defined corporate engagement process designed to create sustainable long-term value. NEI is a wholly owned subsidiary of Aviso Wealth, a national, integrated financial services company, with over $70 billion in assets. For more information please visit www.neiinvestments.com and www.aviso.ca

SOURCE NEI Investments

For further information: For media inquiries, please contact: James Morris, VP, Content Marketing and Communications, Aviso Wealth, [email protected]

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Insurers' hedge fund investments may face chop after dismal pandemic performance – TheChronicleHerald.ca

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By Maiya Keidan and Carolyn Cohn

LONDON (Reuters) – Having complained for years about hedge funds’ high fees and lacklustre performance, insurance firms may be preparing to cut allocations to the sector after its poor performance during recent market upheaval left many of them nursing losses.

That would be a problem for hedge funds, as insurance companies are huge investors, managing around $20 trillion of assets globally.

It would also be a challenge for insurers, which have been hoping hedge funds would deliver market-beating returns to help them meet billions of dollars in pandemic-related payouts.

One of the primary objectives of hedge funds is to preserve clients’ capital during market downturns. But the industry mostly failed to do that in the first six months of 2020, losing an average of 3.5%, according to Hedge Fund Research (HFR).

An index fund tracking the S&P500 would have lost 3% in the same period.

(Graphic: Hedge fund annual returns – https://graphics.reuters.com/HEALTH-CORONAVIRUS/INSURANCE/xlbpgjloovq/chart.png)

For European insurers, the underperformance is a double blow, as they incur extra capital charges to hold investments classed as risky.

“The average hedge fund would not be a good investment,” said Urban Angehrn, chief investment officer at Zurich Insurance , which says a $120 million fall in hedge fund gains versus last year contributed to a drop in first-half profits.

Angehrn said there were exceptions but “in aggregate, unfortunately, (hedge funds) don’t do a very good job in creating extra performance.”

While Zurich earned a better-than-average 2.9% from its hedge funds between January and June, that was down from 9% in the same period a year earlier. It has around 1% of its $207 billion asset portfolio in hedge funds and Chief Financial Officer George Quinn told Reuters last month it did not plan a “significant shift” in allocations.

Overall, though, European insurers’ median hedge fund holdings have been falling, hitting 1.5% in September from 2% four years before, data from Preqin shows.

Less than a fifth of global insurers plan to add to hedge fund allocations in the event of persistent volatility over the next three to six months, a State Street survey showed in June, while Goldman Sachs Asset Management’s July survey found that even before the pandemic, insurance firms were cutting hedge fund investments.

“I don’t anticipate COVID leading to increased allocations to hedge funds,” said Gareth Haslip, global head of insurance strategy and analytics at JPMorgan Asset Management.

(Graphic: Insurers’ allocations to hedge funds [in %] – https://graphics.reuters.com/HEALTH-CORONAVIRUS/INSURERS/xegpbjogkpq/chart.png)

DAMAGE

Most major insurers do not provide detail of their hedge fund exposure in earnings reports, but Dutch group Aegon told Reuters it had cut allocations to riskier assets by more than 20% as underperformance of hedge funds inflicted losses of $50 million in the first half of 2020.

“Given the current environment, we decided to somewhat de-risk our investment portfolio and have lowered our exposure to hedge funds and private equity to $1.482 million per June 30, from $1.830 million per December 31, 2019,” a spokesman said.

U.S. insurer AIG said earnings in its general insurance business suffered in the first quarter from a $588 million drop in net investment income, mainly due to hedge funds. AIG declined to comment on its allocations.

Bucking the trend, reinsurer Swiss Re’s hedge fund investments edged up to $355 million at June 30 from $352 million at the end of 2019. A spokesman declined to comment on future investment plans.

European insurers’ hedge fund allocations have room to fall as they are above global averages. It’s also costlier to hold hedge funds after Solvency II regulations introduced in 2016 required insurers to set aside more capital against riskier investments.

Those regulations have partly driven recent falls in hedge fund allocations, according to Andries Hoekema, global insurance sector head at HSBC Global Asset Management, but he noted holdings were down also in Asia, which hadn’t tightened rules.

“In Asia, we have some evidence of insurers replacing hedge fund exposure with private equity,” Hoekema said.

This was “driven partly by the more attractive returns of private equity and partly by the disappointing diversification properties of some hedge fund strategies in recent years,” he added.

($1 = 0.8545 euros)

(Reporting by Maiya Keidan and Carolyn Cohn in London, additional reporting by Toby Sterling in Amsterdam; editing by Sujata Rao and Mark Potter)

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Alberta government announces panel aimed at spurring mineral investment – Edmonton Journal

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Article content continued

“We have companies that are ready to invest now, and they need a process, so our timeline is tight. We want to have legislation and any regulatory changes, any pieces that need to be done, ready to go in the spring,” said Savage.

The panel is made up of former premier of the Northwest Territories Bob McLeod, executive director of the Nunavut Water Board Stephanie Autut, president and CEO of Lucara Diamond Corporation Eira Thomas, president and CEO of IAMGOLD Gordon Stothart, and Allison Rippin Armstrong, who has worked with government, industry and Indigenous organizations.

Part of the government’s strategy will include helping to improve data on mineral deposits in Alberta.

The UCP government has been touting its latest diversification efforts, including in the technology and innovation sector, but Alberta’s Opposition NDP has criticized those sector and business-specific investments as being a fraction of the NDP’s diversification plans.

Savage said the government is focused on investors and people looking to set up business in Alberta. “Those are the people that we’re talking to,” said Savage.

Under the Progressive Conservative government, Alberta Energy commissioned a Mines and Minerals Strategy in 2002, but “then it just stood still,” said Savage, adding the UCP wants to allow affected communities to contribute so projects could move forward while protecting the environment.

Savage is expected to announce the Mine and Minerals strategy panel Wednesday morning with the CEO of Calgary-based business E3 Metals Corp, Chris Doornbos.

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China will boost investment in strategic industries: state planner – TheChronicleHerald.ca

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BEIJING (Reuters) – China said on Wednesday it will boost investment in strategic industries including core tech sectors such as 5G, artificial intelligence and chips.

China will accelerate development of new materials to ensure stable supply chains for aircraft, microelectronic manufacturing and deep-sea mining sectors, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said.

China will also speed development of vaccine innovation, diagnostic, testing reagents and antibody drugs, the NDRC said.

(Reporting By Ryan Woo and Lusha Zhang; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

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